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Number 1 Shimbun

On My Watch



Island hopping: The author on a South Korean junket to Takeshima that got him
called into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


Confessions of a foreign correspondent

after a half-decade of reporting from Tokyo

to his German readers


by Carsten Germis


y bags are packed, as the song goes. After more than five years as the Tokyo correspondent for the German daily, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, I will soon leave Tokyo for home.

The country I’m leaving is different from the one I arrived in back in January 2010. Although things seem the same on the surface, the social climate – that has increasingly influenced my work in the past 12 months – is slowly but noticeably changing.

There is a growing gap between the perceptions of the Japanese elites and what is reported in the foreign media, and I worry that it could become a problem for journalists working here. Of course, Japan is a democracy with freedom of the press, and access to information is possible even for correspondents with poor Japanese language skills. But the gap exists because there is a clear shift that is taking place under the leadership of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe – a move by the right to whitewash history. It could become a problem because Japan’s new elites have a hard time dealing with opposing views or criticism, which is very likely to continue in the foreign media.

The Nikkei recently published an essay by their correspondent in Berlin about the February visit to Japan of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. He wrote: “Merkel’s visit to Japan was more conducive to criticism of Japan than friendship. With Japanese experts, she discussed her country’s policy to end nuclear power. She talked about the wartime history when she visited the Asahi and when she met with Abe. She also talked with Katsuya Okada, president of the DPJ, the largest opposition party. . . . Friendship was promoted only when she visited a factory run by a German company and shook hands with the robot Asimo.”


The country I’m leaving is different

from the one I arrived in

back in January 2010.


That seemed harsh. But, even accepting the premise . . . what is friendship? Is friendship simply agreement? Is not true friendship the ability to speak of one’s beliefs when a friend is shifting in a direction that could cause him harm? And surely Merkel’s visit was more complex than just critical.

Let me make my own stance clear. After five years, my love and affection for this country are unbroken. In fact, thanks to the many fine people I’ve met, my feelings are stronger than ever. Most of my Japanese friends and Japanese readers in Germany have told me they feel my love in my writing, especially following the events of March 11, 2011.

Unfortunately, the bureaucrats at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) in Tokyo see things completely differently, and it seems some in the Japanese media feel the same way. To them I have been – like almost all my German media colleagues – a Japan basher capable of only delivering harsh criticism. It is we who have been responsible for, as the Nikkei’s man in Berlin put it, the two countries’ bilateral relations becoming “less friendly.”


Changing relations

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung is politically conservative, economically liberal and market oriented. And yet, those claiming that the coverage of Abe’s historical revisionism has always been critical are right. In Germany it is inconceivable for liberal democrats to deny responsibility for what were wars of aggression. If Japan’s popularity in Germany has suffered, it is not due to the media coverage, but to Germany’s repugnance at historical revisionism.

My tenure in Japan began with very different issues. In 2010, the Democratic Party of Japan ran the government. All three administrations I covered – Hatoyama, Kan and Noda – tried to explain their policies to the foreign press, and we often heard politicians saying things like, “We know we have to do more and become better at running the country.”

Foreign journalists were often invited by then Deputy Prime Minister Katsuya Okada, for example, to exchange views. There were weekly meetings in the Kantei, the PM’s residence, and officials were willing to discuss – more or less openly – current issues. We didn’t hesitate to criticize the government’s stance on certain issues, but officials continued to try to make their positions understood.

The rollback came soon after the December 2012 elections. Despite the prime minister’s embrace of new media like Facebook, for example, there is no evidence of an appreciation for openness anywhere in his administration. Finance Minister Taro Aso has never tried to talk to foreign journalists or to provide a response to questions about the massive government debt.

In fact, there is a long list of issues that foreign correspondents want to hear officialdom address: energy policy, the risks of Abenomics, constitutional revision, opportunities for the younger generation, the depopulation of rural regions. But the willingness of government representatives to talk with the foreign press has been almost zero. Yet, at the same time, anyone who criticizes the brave new world being called for by the prime minister is called a Japan basher.


Anyone who criticizes the brave new world

being called for by the prime minister

is called a Japan basher.


What is new, and what seems unthinkable compared to five years ago, is being subjected to attacks from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – not only direct ones, but ones directed at the paper’s editorial staff in Germany. After the appearance of an article I had written that was critical of the Abe administration’s historical revisionism, the paper’s senior foreign policy editor was visited by the Japanese consul general of Frankfurt, who passed on objections from “Tokyo.” The Chinese, he complained, had used it for anti-Japanese propaganda.



It got worse. Later on in the frosty, 90-minute meeting, the editor asked the consul general for information that would prove the facts in the article wrong, but to no avail. “I am forced to begin to suspect that money is involved,” said the diplomat, insulting me, the editor and the entire paper. Pulling out a folder of my clippings, he extended condolences for my need to write pro-China propaganda, since he understood that it was probably necessary for me to get my visa application approved.

Me? A paid spy for Beijing? Not only have I never been there, but I’ve never even applied for a visa. If this is the approach of the new administration’s drive to make Japan’s goals understood, there’s a lot of work ahead. Of course, the pro-China accusations did not go over well with my editor, and I received the backing to continue with my reporting. If anything, the editing of my reports became sharper.

The heavy handedness has been increasing over the past few years. In 2012, while the DPJ was still in power, I took a junket to South Korea, interviewing former comfort women and visiting the contested island of Takeshima (Dokdo to Koreans). Of course it was PR, but it was a rare chance to see the center of the controversy for myself. I was called in by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a meal and discussion, and received a few dozen pages of information proving that the island was Japanese.


But things seem to have changed in 2014,

and MoFA officials now seem to

openly attack critical reporting.


In 2013, with Abe’s administration in charge, I was called in once again after I wrote about an interview with three comfort women. This also included a lunch invitation, and once again I received information to help my understanding of the prime minister’s thoughts.

But things seem to have changed in 2014, and MoFA officials now seem to openly attack critical reporting. I was called in after a story on the effect the prime minister’s nationalism is having on trade with China. I told them that I had only quoted official statistics, and their rebuttal was that the numbers were wrong.


My departing message

Two weeks before the epic meeting between the Consul general and my editor, I had another lunch with MoFA officials, in which protests were made of my use of words like “whitewash history,” and the idea that Abe’s nationalistic direction might “isolate Japan, not only in East Asia.” The tone was frostier and, rather than trying to explain and convince, their attitude was angrier. No one was listening to my attempts to explain why German media are especially sensitive about historical revisionism.

I’ve heard of an increase in the number of lunch invitations from government officials to foreign correspondents, and the increased budgets to spread Japanese views of World War II, and the new trend to invite the bosses of foreign correspondents deemed too critical (via business class, of course). But I would suggest the proponents tread carefully, since these editors have been treated to – and become inured to – political PR of the highest caliber and clumsy efforts tend to have an opposite effect. When I officially complained about the Consul’s comments about my receiving funds from China, I was told that it was a “misunderstanding.”

So here’s my departing message: Unlike some of my colleagues, I do not see a threat in Japan to freedom of reporting. Though many critical voices are more silent than during the DPJ administration, they are there – and perhaps in larger numbers than before.

The closed-shop mentality of the Japanese political elite and the present inability of the administration leaders to risk open discussion with foreign media doesn’t really affect press freedom; there are plenty of other sources to gather information. But it does reveal how little the government understands that – in a democracy – policy must be explained to the public. And the world.

It doesn’t strike me as funny any more when colleagues tell me that the LDP doesn’t have anyone in the press affairs department who will speak English or provide information to a foreign journalist. Nor does the fact that the present prime minister, who claims to be well traveled, has declined to make the short trip to speak to us at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club. In fact, I can only be saddened at how the government is not only secretive with the foreign press, but with its own citizens.


It doesn't strike me as funny any more

that the LDP doesn't have anyone in the press affairs

department who will speak English.


In the past five years, I’ve been up and down the Japanese archipelago, and – unlike in Tokyo – I’ve never had anyone, from Hokkaido to Kyushu, accuse me of writings that were hostile to Japan. On the contrary, I’ve been blessed with interesting stories and enjoyable people everywhere. Japan is still one of the most wealthy, open nations in the world; it’s a pleasant place to live and report from for foreign correspondents.

My hope is that foreign journalists – and even more importantly, the Japanese public – can continue to speak their minds. I believe that harmony should not come from repression or ignorance; and that a truly open and healthy democracy is a goal worthy of my home of the last five great years.

Carsten Germis was the Tokyo correspondent of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung from 2010 to 2015 and a member of the Board of Directors of the FCCJ.



Published in: April 2015

Leave a comment


  • miura

    posted by miura

    Thursday, December 17, 2015

    Carsten Germisさんの意見に同意される日本人はいますし、私もその一人です。ただ、ネットを徘徊してストーキングのように執拗に人格攻撃を繰り返す匿名の国粋主義者がいるため、日本ではネット上で議論することが敬遠される傾向にあります。決して安倍首相に同調する日本人ばかりではないのですが、FCCJのようなサイトでさえも荒される結果を見越して議論を始めようとは思いません。


    一方で私は、安倍首相は歴史修正主義者か? という問いにYesと答えます。歴史修正主義者を自分の支持者と見込んで擁護していると思われる以上、安倍氏も歴史修正主義者に他なりません。



    1.哀悼 - aitou(condole - sympathy without the specific religion)
    2.祀る - matsuru(worship the dead in shinto)
    * The dead is deified the spirits of guardian.
    * The Yasukuni shrine is a top of the Gokoku shrines (shrines for defense of Japanese country).
    3.弔う - tomurau(pray for the dead of Paramita)
    * The dead is unenlightened needing a prayer's aid.
    * Paramita:


    Carsten Germisさん、どうか、また日本にいらしてくださいませ。

  • Mariko Shimizu

    posted by Mariko Shimizu

    Monday, December 07, 2015

    You say you've got no difficulty in getting information. If it is so, information pieces you found easy to have or access to may have obtained from other journalists or those people who can speak English or German or whatsoever language you can understand. I must tell you that the major English media here are anti-Japan and pro-China. The Japan Times and other English media people could work with the government, since Kan and Noda are basically anti-Japan people. The Japan Times is affiliated with the Asahi Shinbun, which started the myth of comfort women as sex slaves. The explicit accusation that you might have been bribed suggests they were implicitly accusing the Asahi Shinbun as well as the Japan Times. The NHK has been bribed by the Chinese Communist Party. Even if you are not bribed or bought by the Chinese Communist Party, you tend to produce pro-China and anti-Japan articles as long as you get along with the mainstream media and the people there around. Unless you scrutinize what revisionist means at all, or you examine to see the both sides, you may feel you are accused of unreasonable things, for the accusation should be aimed not at you but the brainwashed majority of Japanese, at the main stream Japanese media, and Communist China. You are just a son of a man and I feel sorry for you, for I imagine you would have gone to the gauntlet, once you had examined your journalism you acquired back home before 2010. The Chinese Communist Party has been working the gap you have felt in 2010 and 2014 or 2015.

  • NinjaBunny

    posted by NinjaBunny

    Wednesday, May 20, 2015

    One thing I know for sure, is that general public in Japan are not so opinionated of such matters like in many other countries. Shoe makers make shoes and cleaners clean here. The cleaners have pride in perfecting the cleanliness of the area they are responsible for. They don't necessarily get paid more for it, but it is in their nature as a Japanese to do what they do at the best of their capabilities, and because of such, only builders build and engineers fix cars and plumbers plumb. Same goes for running the country. Japan used to be led by left winged person so we were more convenient to other countries, but finally we are led by someone who is patriotic, like the American president. I'm very happy about that, although I don't know the details. I love Japan, it is my home. I hope you will like it too if you ever visit.

  • takahashi

    posted by takahashi

    Wednesday, May 06, 2015







  • Rüdiger Sievers

    posted by Rüdiger Sievers

    Tuesday, May 05, 2015

    As a German citizen I feel deeply ashamed of these missionary journalists like Mr. Germis. They are not able to go to a foreign country and listen to the people there and learn from these people. They are not able to see the world from a different perspective. - How could they learn form non-Western people. In their opinion it's the West which already has all the right answers. And only the West. And these "anwsers" have now to be forwarded to the savages of other nations.
    These missionaries - which call themselves journalists - do not even realize that they behave like Cecil Rhodes and his white man's burden ideas, that is, ideas of the colonialists of the 19th century.
    I think the Japanese people are right to conclude these missionaries have built up walls between the German and the Japanese people. People in Germany don't know anything about Japan because they have been reading the stereotypes for decades now. (Most people in Germany even believe Japanese people eat dogs.) When an international study (Harvard and Cambridge) proved that Japan is the most environmentally friendly country among the densely populated countries - Germany was the runner-up - it was not even mentioned in German newspapers. It would have brought too many sympathies for Japan, I suppose.
    Mr. Germis is not even able to see that all his stereotypes are western-based. He could have spent 5 years in Washington and his views about Japan would be the same today. This negative nation-branding definitely harms Japan. Instead of bringing the different people together he has been doing the opposite. And that, Mr. Germis, is not even a Western value! But the West has always been good in demanding from others; they themselves can hurt their own values on a daily basis without even noticing.

    My advice for the (German) people is: If you really want to learn about Japan, read books written by people who really know this country, e. g. Florian Coulmas. Reading the stereotypes printed in German newspapers is a total waste of time.

  • Kaminari

    posted by Kaminari

    Saturday, May 02, 2015

    The so-called nationalist Abe is now selling the Japanese interests to his american superior, to TTP and NSA.
    As the the German government and BND do, the Japanese Government do so too.

  • Rob

    posted by Rob

    Friday, May 01, 2015

    Seeing some people's comments here, I can't help but that Japan has completely lost its mind. China this, Korea that, etc etc, it seems that the Japanese have put themselves in a position where their entire stance on WW2 and other topics is dictated by their pride. Now, Japan can not and will not apologize for what it did during WW2, something which affected people all over the world, just because they can not stand China and Korea. Japan, what are you doing???

    But according to many Japanese, Japan has apologized and paid money. First of all, paying money is not the same as apologizing. Secondly, an apology accompanied with behavior that does not fit with the apology makes the apology invalid. I am always surprised that the Japanese in general don't seem to understand that, despite the Japanese thinking their culture puts great importance on apologies.

    I am from Belgium. Belgium suffered from German aggression twice in the last 100 years. Yet, relations between Belgium and Germany are close to perfect now. In fact, they are better than Japan's relations with ANY country. Why? Did Germany pay us money? I don't even know, and I don't care. What I do know is that Germany, unlike Japan, has been sincere. Germany is filled with museums and monuments showing its own past deeds of aggression. Such things do not exist in Japan. Germany does not offend its former enemies, unlike Japan. Germany's leaders are not nationalist revisionists, unlike Japan's. In Germany, denying what happened is a crime; in Japan it's an everyday thing. Some here wrote that you can not compare between Japan and Germany? I think it's VERY good to compare between them. I give Germany a big A+, and Japan at best a D.

    I live in Osaka, and every few weekends I can hear right-wing nationalists drive by my house. In Europe, they would be called neo-nazis, and there would be protests against them. In Japan, there are no protests. In fact, I suspect many Japanese people sympathize with these idiots.

    Ten years in Japan has taught me a lot about Japan. Free press is almost non-existent. The population is meek and prefers to be fooled rather than to take action. Japanese have no opinions about anything, except AKB48 etc.Any criticism of Japan is seen as being "han-nichi" or "Japan bashing". It's a culture that does not accept different opinions, and the general opinion is: "we Japanese are unique and better".

    I fear it's going to become worse before it becomes better.

  • Dieter Funker

    posted by Dieter Funker

    Friday, May 01, 2015

    Seems to me it's the same with the japanese conservative nationalists and royalists like everywhere else in the world. They seem to forget where all that leads to. How many devastating events like World Wars, with your home country destroyed and most of young men killed, they need to get it? All that wrong national pride, so useless.

  • Harald Himmel

    posted by Harald Himmel

    Friday, May 01, 2015

    "Japan basher", sounds familiar.

    Putin friend, America basher, "payed by moscow", etc. It seems like silencing unpopular opinions with catchy polemics like that get more and more popular outside of Japan as well. A sad developement but what can you do when spinning and derailing becomes a common form of deflecting an issue while avoiding an actual discussion.

  • takahashi

    posted by takahashi

    Thursday, April 30, 2015









  • Fumio Sakuragi

    posted by Fumio Sakuragi

    Wednesday, April 29, 2015

    Friendship needs no adjective any more than peace or uniqueness does. That is the reason that I greatly appreciated Her Germis's artricle. It is a pity for hime to be picked up at the Japanese taxpayers' expense. Simply letting the visitors to his employer's head office to get away with the "misunderstanding" would entice the diplomats to repeat the same or even worse mistakes. If Mr Germis continued to make available particulars of his August 14 article and August 28's visit by the diplomats, information would help island citizens to correct the wasteful spending and wrongings of their agents/servants with concrete evidence. After all taxpayers' money and resources have to be spent for not parochial but whole interest - as constituion article 15.2 commands. Too bad government workers take the constituion in the same way they read the 17 articles of Prince Shotoku in the 8 century. Even constitutional scholars do not tell moral commands from written stipulation. Incidentally no academic evidence has been cited that the Regent had ever existed despite the fact a spate of official documents and novels have been documented. That is why a Japanese like myself misses him so much leaving for Germany. Vielen Dank für Ihr fünf Jahre.

  • arkhangelsk

    posted by arkhangelsk

    Wednesday, April 22, 2015

    Since I have not yet your specific articles, I cannot give specific replies. ON general principles, however:

    On friendship: Friendship does involve more than blind agreement and it does involve the ability to make certain friendly warnings. However, I think in Germany as well as Japan, the issuance of such warnings should be undertaken in a manner that does not disadvantage your friend.

    It is a well known propaganda ploy by China to make comparisons between Germany and Japan. So when a German chancellor for example makes a statement concerning revisionism, her words have much greater propaganda value than another national leader, let alone a lesser person. In short, when she makes a statement, she will inevitably embarass Japan (at least in the eyes of world opinion). Her decision to make the statement anyway means an acceptance that Japan will be hurt by her statement. Can you be a friend to someone who keeps making statements in manners that get you hurt (even if he may be heartfelt)?

    Friendship also implies an ability to respect your friend taking a different road. As far as WWII is concerned, Germany took the road of apologizing, and that turned out reasonably well as far as Germany is concerned. However, given human nature, it *could* have turned out very differently, and Germany could be hounded by Jews and other victims seizing the apologies not as penance but as levers for maximum gain. Or a large part of Germany may decide not to "play ball" with the national strategy, with similar consequences as Japan periodically suffers.

    Given this, it is perhaps more understandable that Japan may have chosen to take a different road on the basis of its internal composition, different culture, and different neighbors. In any case, having chosen to stay friends despite this difference, surely the wrong move is to deliberately make your friend's chosen path more difficult.

    Maybe your friend's path is wrong. If so, let him fail due to the poor merits of his path, not because you helped to trip him up.

  • Taiyo

    posted by Taiyo

    Wednesday, April 15, 2015

    I'm rather surprised to see so much speculation mixed with facts, provable or otherwise.

    Everyone's entitled to one's opinions, like the general public, journalists, or a government official.
    Someone expressing his opinion against a journalist's view is somehow a threat to free speech, if that person happened to work for the government?

    Strange. we see someone from official agencies talking out loud all the time. What's so different if it's in Japan?

  • Taro Yamada

    posted by Taro Yamada

    Wednesday, April 15, 2015

    I couldn't agree with you more about the change in Japan in last several years since LDP took over from previous comedy party.
    The change is good one, but probably not good for foreign journalism. Japan had let foreign journalism say whatever they want, even though many critical points are far from truth but Japan kept believing those someday realize truth and understand what Japan is.
    Japan's mistake has been to keep silence to do that.
    Although it is not the case anymore. Japan can say no, and can take action to correct wrong.
    Anyone can still say anything freely, but get hit back if that's understanding is wrong.
    This is not a free journalism issue, but Nation can express and take necessary action. I hope I made this difference simple and clear.

  • Rosemary Chiba

    posted by Rosemary Chiba

    Wednesday, April 15, 2015

    Thank you Herr Germis for your insightful and rightly disturbing comments. I regret that you will no longer be based in Japan but hope that you will keep a keen eye on us from a distance. Your article was forwarded in English to my husband, though the sender must have read a Japanese translation (excellent that there is one.) I shall now send this on to as many friends as possible. We must resist Abe's insidious revisionism and his nuclear policy.

  • Dave McCombs

    posted by Dave McCombs

    Wednesday, April 15, 2015

    Is Germis' opacity deliberate? If so, I suppose it is a nicely subtle way to illustrate ambivalence about today's Japan.
    Still, I've read through thrice and can't figure out if he's complaining that his sense of privilege as a correspondent was inadequately served by the government or that the high dudgeon about Abe imposing media control is overwrought.
    Or was it just lost in translation?

    He says:
    ``I do not see a threat in Japan to freedom of reporting.''
    ``My hope is that foreign journalists – and even more importantly, the Japanese public – can continue to speak their minds.''

    Ambivalence, or confusion?

  • Christian Uhl

    posted by Christian Uhl

    Wednesday, April 15, 2015

    Dear Mr. Germis,
    I'm reading the FAZ and your Japan reports regularly, and often enough I suffer from allergic reactions caused by a severe conservatism and neo-liberalism intolerance, a fact-induced intellectual condition which is now worsening every day, every hour. Your above essay, however, I regard as a very important and brave contribution for which I would like to thank you, also because similar tendencies exist in Japan-related academia as well. And yet, here's my departing message: in both, journalism and academia, a voice which remains silent is NOT critical, is not even a voice. Thus again, thank you for raising yours.

  • Avery

    posted by Avery

    Tuesday, April 14, 2015

    I think the people writing in poor English or Japanese understand the article perfectly well. One of the Japanese comments expressed exactly the same concern as I did. Meanwhile, the comments in support of the author seem to be coming from the incestuous anti-nuclear cult.

  • Mel S.

    posted by Mel S.

    Tuesday, April 14, 2015

    Here we see comments from people who do not fully understand English misunderstanding the message and the love the author has for Japan and her people's future. They do not understand the meaning properly of the words written, and therefore spread their misunderstanding to others. This is the root of a lot bad foreign relations, miscommunication.

  • Kyoko Michishita

    posted by Kyoko Michishita

    Tuesday, April 14, 2015

    Thank you Mr. Carsten Germis for having most articulately expressed my thoughts and feelings---and most likely all Japanese peace-loving citizens' hearts and minds---toward the current Abe regime. Since no Japanese journalist can write an article as you or Martin Fackler, for example, does, criticizing Abe and his right-wing clan that now seem to control the entire Japan from the media, business, to academia, we, ordinary citizens who cherish the Japanese Constitution and object the Nuclear Power Plants, have to depend on criticism against our government from outside Japan. So, thank you for your marvelous article from the bottom of my heart.

  • Christian Apel

    posted by Christian Apel

    Monday, April 13, 2015

    Dear Germis-san,

    Having lived in Japan myself for over 5 years and following the course of the country closely since then, I couldn't agree more to your assessment. Like you I consider myself a friend of Japan, having met so many valuable people in business and private. As a foreigner in Japan I indeed was more reluctant to start any discussion that could be perceived as direct criticism. A privilege a correspondent of a quality newspaper like the FAZ does not have.
    I am confident that foreign journalists will continue to speak their minds. I am much more worried for your Japanese colleagues. The big newspapers are practicing some kind of self-censorship, courageous journalists are pushed out of their jobs, left with the only alternative to continue their work through online media under difficult circumstances.
    In my eyes one of the most important and powerful pillars in democracy is the free press. I hope and wish that also you and your organisation FCCJ will support your Japanese counterparts to fulfil this so very important task - for the sake of a great nation like Japan and for our friends living there!

    Yours sincerely
    Christian Apel

  • Koichi Yoshimura

    posted by Koichi Yoshimura

    Monday, April 13, 2015

    I have been impressed very much with your essay. I agree 100% that MoFA's act towards forreign press with huge amount of budget wont work as they expect. Because I believe there is still real journalizm alive which is died out in Japan for long time. May be there was no journalizm at all for entire japanese history. I have translated your article in Japanese in my blog "Dante's Forest" today. If you are against it, please let me know. I will deliete it at once.

    I hope you will continue to write stories about Japan for your readers in Gernany. Do you have plan to write a book? I'm keen to read it.

    Ganbatte kudasai! Ogenkide!

    Koichi Yoshimura

  • jeremy

    posted by jeremy

    Monday, April 13, 2015

    I get tired of your prejudice and ignorance to the Japanese history. Please learn the true history. It is different from the Chinese fantasy.
    The Japanese Democratic Party is puppet of China and Korea. Most of members are Koreans. Therefore, they did nothing at the time of earthquake disaster. The cause that meltdown 3.11 is because Naoto Kan did local inspection suddenly. Head of state usually orders it from the Prime Minister's office. What did you see in those days? Nothing!
    Japanese people avoid them.

    Please do not intend to brainwash a Japanese.
    People don't believe in Japanese media. There are many korean nationalists.
    And they don't trust white journalists who close to Korea and calls himself a liberalist.

  • Hiroshi MEGURO

    posted by Hiroshi MEGURO

    Sunday, April 12, 2015

    Japanese tend to react to any criticism of Japan by foreigners, particularly by foreign media. Partly because most Japanese, especially politicians, do not use English, or other foreign languages, for communication, they are not used to interacting with international community. As a result, they often panic when they are criticized by foreigners. One annoying problem here is that under the Abe administration this tendency is quickly becoming strong. If Prime Minister Abe and his government continue to use Japanese diplomats to put pressure on foreign news media, things would be more serious.

  • Hiroshi Kubo

    posted by Hiroshi Kubo

    Sunday, April 12, 2015

    Japan has already paid as much money and apology in compensation for World War 2 suffering to China, Korea, ... as Germany. We have the right to say what Japan did not do in the war time as so, to deny false accusation, which it seems to Japanese that they are trying to use for their advantage. Germans slaughtered 6 million Jews, 10 million Russians, and so on during the war time, which is beyond what can be compensated for. In view of this and others, I do not see the reason why you are critical of Abe's attempt to just correct false accusation.

  • ByeByeLeftie

    posted by ByeByeLeftie

    Saturday, April 11, 2015

    Wow, just by looking at the picture at the top of this page, I can pretty much sense that this guy's a brainwashed leftwing, perhaps even a communist.

    Please do never come to Japan again, Mr. Germ, ever.
    You are not welcome.

  • Andreas Cichowicz

    posted by Andreas Cichowicz

    Saturday, April 11, 2015

    Very interesting reading and rather sad resumee concerning Japans attitude towards Foreign journalists. While in television we have not been subjected to any of that so far, our public television partner station NHK has also experienced a remarkable shift to the right at the top with many colleagues gearing that they will not be able to continue reporting independently.


    posted by EMIKO AWANO

    Saturday, April 11, 2015


  • Paul Jobin (Paris)

    posted by Paul Jobin (Paris)

    Saturday, April 11, 2015

    Thank you very much for your important testimony.
    Paul Jobin (I teach sociology of Japan at Paris Diderot University)

  • Hiroshi Kubo

    posted by Hiroshi Kubo

    Saturday, April 11, 2015

    Japan has already paid as much money and apology in compensation for World War 2 suffering to China, Korea, ... as Germany. We have the right to say what Japan did not do in the war time as so, to deny false accusation, which it seems to Japanese that they are trying to use for their advantage. Germans slaughtered 6 million Jews. 10 million Russians, and so on during the war time, which is beyond what can be compensated for. In view of this and others, I do not see the reason why you are critical of Abe's attempt to just correct false accusation.

  • Ishikawa

    posted by Ishikawa

    Saturday, April 11, 2015

    Hello, Mr.Carsten Germis, Nice to meet you.
    This is Japan.
    I've read your article [On My Watch | Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan.]

    A few days ago, Japanese Emperor and Empress visited Palau. People in Palau are very grateful to Japan even now. Because Asian countries know that Europe robbed a lot from Asia, but Japan has beed giving them.
    Only Japan has constructed a huge number of hospitals & schools in Asia.
    During European domination, the number of Palau's nation became 10%.
    During Japanese governance, the number of Asian nation became twice.

    For example, Japan made more than 5000 schools in Korea. They couldn't read & write, so Japan educated them. But they are liars, so they always say "Japan robbed everything! Japan robbed everything!"

    At an Asean conference, President of Indonesia said,
    "We, Asian countries are very grateful to Japan even now what Japan did for us before WW2.
    But why? Korea never give thanks to Japan even you have been helped by Japan the most.
    Far from it, you are always complaining and arguing to Japan. We can't understand Korean mind!"

    A lot of Asian people say that Japanese gavernance was the nicest. Some of them say they want to be Japan again.

    Those who rewrote history were Europe & the U.S., weren't they? The Tokyo judgement was a fake. You'd better study history again.
    Europe & the U.S. had slavery in Africa & Asia.
    Japan has never had slavery.
    Why is Japan loved & respected by a lot of Asian countries except China & Korea?
    Why is Europe not loved & respected by Asia & Aflica?
    Who are liars?
    100 years ago, LondonTimes said,
    "Japanese governanse in Asia is very nice. Why can they do that? We couldn't do like them. Why?! Why?! Why?!"

    Thanks for reading to the end.
    From Japan.

  • Yusuke Endo

    posted by Yusuke Endo

    Friday, April 10, 2015

    Thanks for your consideration about recently Japanese political crisis. Now, some of Japanese can't believe Japanese coverage like, newspapers, TVs.
    We need coverage from foreign journalist. Please continue to provide your opinion about Japanese political issues.
    I concern, what Abe and LDP is making revert totalitarian country before WWII, and reverting economic, political noble class again.
    Our country, Japan needs coverage from foreign journalist. Because, our autism country is possible only by change external pressure.
    Thanks, for your words. And, please back to Japan again.

    Kindest personal regards.

  • seinan harada

    posted by seinan harada

    Friday, April 10, 2015





  • Steve Jackman

    posted by Steve Jackman

    Friday, April 10, 2015

    Amazing article, thank you!

  • Avery

    posted by Avery

    Wednesday, April 08, 2015

    I don't get it, people constantly talk about Abe "denying history", but I never see a single example of him doing so. Here is yet another article that makes the complaint without giving any examples.

  • Prof. Dr. Dieter Müller

    posted by Prof. Dr. Dieter Müller

    Monday, April 06, 2015

    A great and Important conclusion of Carsten Germis 5- year-stay in Japan. For a Japan visitor like me, who loves this country and its people it's a horror vision, that these friendly people will be represented by politicians, who more look back in history than to look into the future. These history whitewashing elites of politicians are surely no elites of historical scientists, but only poor argumenting people, who will put a dark shadow on this proud country and it's friendly people.

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